While even mild cases of rosacea can be a nuisance, this widespread disorder increasingly interferes with patients' social lives when it becomes more severe, according to a new survey by the National Rosacea Society.
In the survey of 660 rosacea patients, 86 percent of those with severe rosacea said the condition had inhibited their social lives and 67 percent of those with moderate rosacea were also affected, compared with 38 percent of mild cases.
Of the respondents who had severe rosacea, 74 percent reported that they had avoided public contact or canceled a social engagement because of its effect on their personal appearance, and 65 percent had even found it difficult to establish new relationships.
In contrast, 42 percent of patients with moderate rosacea and 18 percent of patients with mild rosacea reported canceling social engagements because of a flare-up, and 44 percent and 19 percent, respectively, found establishing new relationships difficult.
Fifty-seven percent of all survey respondents said they had been the subject of stares, misconceptions, rude comments or jokes because of their appearance, while 73 percent of those with severe signs and symptoms reported receiving such negative attention.
"The results of this survey underscore the importance of long-term care," said Dr. William James, professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania. "Beyond its physical effects, this is a chronic disorder that calls for ongoing attention because of its potential social consequences, as well as its impact on many people's emotional and professional lives."
Fortunately, medical treatment appears to have a positive effect on social interactions. Nearly 70 percent of all survey respondents reported their social lives had improved after effective therapy.